Rules of Thumb
Drink what you like with the food you like:
Plain and simple if you like to drink a certain wine with a certain food then it’s not wrong. Wine pairings are not a law just a rule of thumb.
Match Intensity of Flavors:
One important principle of matching food and wine is to match the general flavor intensity. In other words, match foods with bold, rich flavors (such as a grilled steak or leg of lamb, for instance) with big, bold wines that stand up to that richness.
Match Regional Recipes with Regional Wines:
In regions in which wines and cuisines have developed over centuries, as in many parts of Europe, oftentimes the wine and food of each region has grown up alongside each other and have evolved to complement each other. Let hundreds of years of experimentation and culinary evolution do the work for you!
Food and Wine Pairings Guidelines
In general, lighter fleshed fish pair well with lighter white wines. In the case of richer fish like salmon or shark, particularly if they have a rich sauce, a light to medium-bodied white or red can do beautifully as well. For richer whites think of something like Chardonnay and for an appropriate red Pinot Noir-based wines should do the trick!
While simple, lighter flavored chicken and turkey dishes can go both ways, pairing nicely with many medium to full-bodied white wines as well as medium-bodied reds, richer poultry dishes of game birds, rich sauces or mushrooms can go nicely with many bolder reds. Think Pinot Noir and Gamay based reds unless you have a nice rich, smoky dish which may pair nicely with a Rhône red or Zinfandel.
Beef almost always demands a big, rich red wine to stand up to its bold flavors. Structured red wines often have hefty tannin and the rich fattiness of a well-marbled steak stands up to tannins nicely and even helps soften their impact. Think big, structured reds like Bordeaux and Cabernet-based wines or rich Rhône wines made from Syrah.
Lamb and Game
Because of their “gamey” flavor, lamb and game meats like venison and others really shine with a wine that has a rich, bold personality to stand up to them. Depending on the style of lamb you can do anything form a rustic southern French type wine or a Bordeaux for more refined dishes. Look for aromatic wines with bold flavors and maybe even some smokiness or meatiness which will compliment the meat.
Cheese really comes into its own when paired with wine. In general, pair light, creamy cheeses with high butterfat with slightly acidic white wines like Champagne and pair richer, bolder-flavored cheeses with rich meaty red wines.